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Europeans have a major pitching handicap – modesty.

I was asked by Microsoft Netherlands to coach a CEO whose company had made a breakthrough in the detection of childhood autism.

As the only Dutch company presenting at the Microsoft European Summit, they wanted her to do well.

After 3 of 4 days working together, she finally told me the world’s foremost autism expert was on her advisory board.

This was important information. It gave her credibility. It would make people stop and listen.

So, why wait so long to bring it up?

The answer can best be summed up by two Dutch expressions:

Acting normal is crazy enough.


Stick your head above the corn, you get your head cut off.

In Europe, it’s culturally agreed that you conform and don’t stick out.

Problem is, while modesty might be cute, it’s a major handicap when pitching for investment.

To attract the right investor, you need to highlight your value, clearly and quickly or you’ll be ignored.

To do so, you must break your cultural programming and accept wholeheartedly that you have something of value to offer.

This will help.

Think of three occasions in life when you’ve been acknowledged and rewarded for your contribution.

Make sure they are things that were difficult to achieve.

Write them down. Seeing the value you offer will start the necessary shift.

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